Clam chowder is a soup that has been a popular dish for centuries. It is a creamy, hearty soup that is a staple of seafood restaurants, with variations from state to state across the U.S.A. It is a comfort food that is great for cold winter days.
One of the most important elements of a good clam chowder is its thickness. If it is too thin, then it won’t have the right texture or be as satisfying. On the other hand, if it is too thick, it can become unappetizing. In this blog post, we will discuss the various ways to thicken your clam chowder to ensure it is just right. By the end of this post, you’ll have the knowledge you need to make a perfect bowl of clam chowder.
Use Arrowroot Powder Instead of Cornstarch
Arrowroot powder is a healthier cornstarch alternative. This substance works well as a thickening agent in sauces and soups.
Unlike cornstarch, which turns soup opaque, arrowroot powder makes it glossy and leaves it clear. Additionally, it doesn’t have a flavor.
When compared to cornstarch, arrowroot powder has higher levels of calcium and dietary fiber. This makes it ideal for those who desire ingredients that have health benefits.
Making creamy, thick clam chowder with arrowroot powder has the advantage of maintaining the consistency of the dish even after freezing and thawing.
Use twice as much arrowroot powder as the recipe calls for cornstarch when making the substitution.
What Can I Add to My Chowder?
Chowders can be made with a wide range of ingredients, including haddock, corn, potatoes, bacon bits, lobster, crayfish, and other kinds of seafood. Each of these will give your pot its own distinct flavor. Clams are my favorite because they give the dish a unique flavor that is unmatched by any other ingredients. Later on in this article, I will explain how I prepare it and provide you with my simple recipe.
Your chowder shouldn’t be completely liquid because otherwise it would just be soup. However, you don’t want it to be so thick that it almost solidifies, like a stew. Finding a delicate balance between the two is the challenge. My personal litmus test is that the spoon should gently slide off in a blob rather than splashing off.
There are many techniques available for thickening clam chowder. I have tried all of these, and they have all worked well.
You should use heavy cream to achieve that thick, creamy consistency. It will give your chowder a rich, smooth texture.
Add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the cream if you prefer a really thick chowder. Pour it into the pot very gradually, stirring as you pour, after thoroughly stirring it to ensure there are no lumps. As you incorporate the mixture of cream and cornstarch, the chowder will thicken.
If you’ve already added the cream but your chowder is still too thin and you want to thicken it even more, you can combine a small amount of cornstarch with one or two tablespoons of cold water. You will find that this is a simple and efficient way to thicken clam chowder if you slowly pour this into your pot.
If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use the same procedure as above with flour, but you might need to use a little bit more to achieve the same results.
Adding chunked potatoes is another method of thickening clam chowder. Using the proper type of potatoes is the key to this dish. You get starchy potatoes and waxy potatoes. Avoid waxy potatoes, like the ever-popular Yukon Gold.
You must use a starchy variety of potato, such as the russet. The potato actually functions similarly to cornstarch because it contains starch, which acts as a thickening agent, but the starch is not as concentrated.
Let the potato chunks cook in the chowder, and as they cook the starch is gradually released, thickening the chowder as it simmers. The bonus of this is that the potatoes also bulk up your chowder, turning it into a substantial, hearty, and wholesome meal.
Using crackers was another novel way I’ve thickened clam chowder. Break up your preferred crackers into very small pieces or crush them with a rolling pin, then stir them into your chowder and simmer it.
The starch in the crackers will thicken the chowder and also give it a delicious flavor. A word of caution: the amount of salt in the recipe should be reduced if you use salty crackers because they will salt up the chowder.
This is a little-known secret that I sometimes use. It will thicken beautifully if you add instant mashed potato powder to your chowder. Simply be mindful not to add too much. If you go overboard, your chowder will end up being like thick porridge because it will be too gooey.
Read Related Article: A Quick Guide to Thickening Mashed Potatoes
Why Does Clam Chowder Become Watery?
A big batch of clam chowder goes a long way. You can keep it in the refrigerator and use it as a filling dinner several days in a row.
But when clam chowder is kept in the refrigerator, it frequently becomes watery.
Why does this happen? The answer is simple. As the chowder cools, the fats solidify, giving the dish a watery consistency.
When you reheat your clam chowder, whether on the stovetop or in the microwave, it will quickly regain its original texture. Stir the chowder as it warms up to quickly dissolve the solidified fats.
Clam chowder can be saved whether you are currently preparing it or it is cooked and ready but not the consistency you prefer.
Fortunately, there are numerous ingredients that can be used to thicken and improve the consistency of the soup. These ingredients, for the most part, are always at hand. We’ll show you how to use each.
Flour is a staple ingredient in every kitchen. You must begin by making a roux if you want to make a creamy and thick clam chowder. Roux is a combination of flour and fat. In order to achieve a thick consistency, it serves as the base for sauces and soups.
To use flour to thicken clam chowder, follow these steps:
Make sure to use gluten-containing flour when making creamy, thick clam chowder. Regular wheat flour works best for this reason. It is impossible to improve the texture of the soup by using gluten-free flour.
Try substituting a different ingredient from this list, such as potatoes or xanthan gum, if eliminating gluten is not an option.
The ingredient to use is cornstarch if you want a really thick clam chowder.
Clam chowder will become even richer and thicker and creamier with the addition of a tablespoon of cornstarch and cream.
The best way to incorporate cornstarch into chowder is as follows:
Some people only need to add the cream to get the texture they want. But sometimes the chowder may turn out thinner than expected. In these circumstances, a tablespoon of cornstarch and cold water will work as a thickener.
Pour the water into the chowder after combining the starch and cold water. This mixture will instantly make it thicker.
Having already cooked clam chowder, it is challenging to thicken it. Adding potatoes will quickly and easily thicken clam chowder that has already been prepared.
Here’s what you need to do:
Tip: Pick starchy potatoes. Russet and Idaho potatoes are two of the starchy potato varieties that are most widely accessible. Yukon Gold potatoes, for example, are waxy and should not be added to chowder.
As opposed to flour or cornstarch, xanthan gum is not a commonly used ingredient. But some individuals do favor it as a thickener and stabilizer. This food additive is completely safe to eat and is made from fermented sugar.
Your clam chowder can have the consistency you prefer by adding a small amount of xanthan gum. Here’s how to use it:
Crackers are one of the simplest ways to thicken a thin clam chowder.
Adding crackers is as easy as this:
Make sure that the crackers you use to thicken the clam chowder are not overly salty. Super salty crackers may detract from the flavor of your carefully prepared chowder, unless you haven’t added a lot of salt to it.
How long does it take for clam chowder to thicken?
Add clams, soup, cream, milk, and dill weed. Stir together. Add butter and let melt into the chowder. Cook for about 30-45 minutes or until thickened.
Is it better to thicken chowder with flour or cornstarch?
It’s crucial to remember that cornstarch thickens liquids twice as effectively as flour. You would only need to use two tablespoons of cornstarch to replace 1/4 cup (four tablespoons) of flour in a recipe for gravy.
How do you thicken chowder without flour?
A handful of uncooked rice. That’s all folks, just a handful of white rice. Any kind will do: jasmine, basmati, short grain, long grain. When rice is added to a brothy (or watery, even) soup and simmered for 20 to 30 minutes, the starch in the rice releases, thickening the liquid that the rice is cooking in.
What is the thickener in New England clam chowder?
According to Charlie Burke of the online publication The Heart of New England, “Authentic New England chowders are never thick, with most relying on the starch from the potatoes to slightly thicken the broth and milk or cream.”